Were The Warriors Right In Benching James Wiseman? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
The Golden State Warriors took at page out of the NCAA playbook Thursday night when they benched James Wiseman for the first half of their game against the LA Clippers. The rookie center missed his Covid-19 tests earlier in the week, forcing head coach Steve Kerr to keep Wiseman on the bench for the first 24 minutes; the type of benching many college athletes see, but few professional players do. While it appears Kerr got through to Wiseman with the half-game suspension, the move has provoked a reaction within the locker room and, at least for me, calls into question the head coach’s judgement in matters as important as Covid-19.
"There's going to be some lessons along the way. That's all part of being a rookie and inexperienced."
Steve Kerr benched James Wiseman for three quarters to teach him a lesson after missing a COVID test pic.twitter.com/FP1fnSovkD
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 12, 2021
The decision head coach Steve Kerr made to “bench” James Wiseman for 24 minutes should not have been a basketball one … it was an important teaching moment for a young player on a struggling team, and Kerr botched it by taking a half-assed approach to it. If this was a matter of Wiseman being late or even missing a team practice and he wanted to make a point by benching his rookie player, that’s one thing, but with the NBA trying to be at the forefront of Covid-19 protocols, to only bench anyone for a half a game for missing a mandatory test is unacceptable.
Only one weekend before two all-stars were held out of the game for safety reasons, yet Kerr and the Warriors not only allowed an untested player to attend a game, but took the “mandatory” test so seriously, that he was permitted to play.
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) March 13, 2021
You can take the position that Draymond Green took, which is that the NBA is doing so much Covid-19 testing that missing one is not that big of deal if you want. However, don’t call any test “mandatory,” since if you miss that day’s test there’s always another one, right? There’s a reason the NBA is providing all these tests, and they are all green … MONEY!
Is it possible that this is a one-time mistake and James Wiseman will never, ever break another team or NBA rule for the rest of his career? Of course, but that too, is not the point. Fans are still very hesitant to attend live sporting events, and if players are going to be cavalier about Covid-19 testing, then fans will be even more nervous about attending games, especially when they need to be tested themselves in many cities before entering an arena.
James Wiseman turns 20 on the last day of March, but this is not just about what he did or didn’t do, but how those in positions of authority dealt with him when he made his mistake. The NBA is trying to set the standard in sports about how to handle the Covid-19 crisis, but also let players take the court who break their own protocols. Why should I take commissioner Adam Silver or Steve Kerr seriously when it comes to other Covid-19 rules?
Golden State mishandled this situation; but I know a fine won’t mean anything to them. That means that whoever allowed James Wiseman to take the court Thursday night should be suspended, even if that included an owner, someone from the front office, or even Steve Kerr.
The message needs to be sent to the rest of the teams, and by extension NBA fans that the league is still taking this health crisis seriously … otherwise I will stop taking them seriously on this and many other issues that they insist on throwing in my face on a nearly nightly basis.
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Were The Warriors Right In Benching James Wiseman? | TooAthletic.c0m
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